Obama underwater in Florida, losing ground nationally with minority voters

Two polls out today produced some bad numbers for Barack Obama, although Gallup’s news may be overrated.  They report a decline in support for Obama across all ethnic groups, with the slippage among blacks and Hispanics the big headline.  Relatively speaking, though, it’s hardly an opening for the GOP:

Though majorities of blacks (85%) and Hispanics (54%) continue to approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president, his ratings among these groups slipped in March and have set or tied new lows. His approval rating among whites, at 39%, remains above where it was in the latter part of 2010. …

Obama, elected to office with strong support from minority voters, has averaged better than 90% approval among blacks, and 65% among Hispanics, during his term. Prior to March, Obama’s lowest monthly average among blacks was 88% in July 2010 and December 2010. The president’s 54% March job approval rating among Hispanics ties the low from July and August 2010.

Actually, the headline could just as easily have been written “Obama Support Steady Among Whites and Hispanics.”  Those numbers are about the same as they have been for the last several months.  In fact, there has been a little uptick of late for Obama among whites, although it’s within the margin of error.  The drop in support among black voters is only slightly larger than the MOE, and at 85%, it’s gone from Ridiculously Lock-Step to Incredibly Loyal.  Obama has lost 19 points among Hispanics, which will certainly worry Democrats rolling into 2012, but all of that damage happened before the midterms.

Today’s poll from Quinnipiac is more worrisome for the President, and encouraging for his opponents:

President Barack Obama hits a losing trifecta with Florida voters: They disapprove 52 – 44 percent of the job he is doing; they prefer an unnamed Republican challenger by a too-close-to- call 41 – 38 percent in the 2012 presidential election and say 51 – 42 percent that the president does not deserve a second term, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Today’s numbers compare to results of a February 3 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, when the President was almost dead even in the trifecta:

  • 47 percent job approval, with 49 percent disapproving;
  • 40 percent for Obama, compared to 42 percent for an unnamed GOP challenger;
  • 45 percent saying four more years compared to 48 percent saying no.

This applies only to Florida, of course, but it’s a state Obama needs to win in 2012. With these numbers, that’s looking less and less likely.  The drop here has been much more precipitous than in Gallup’s national survey, reflecting Obama’s recent performance more than the period before the midterms.

Interestingly, this may hinge on energy rather than entitlement reform.  Floridians have traditionally opposed offshore drilling, but rising fuel prices have had their impact.  The Q-poll shows 60/35 support for increasing offshore drilling, with independents supporting the policy 58/38 — and Democrats more narrowly opposed at 43/52.  In his favor, ObamaCare isn’t underwater in Florida, with 49/41 plurality support [see update below], but that’s perhaps more of an indication of a lower voter priority — since more support ObamaCare than Obama himself.

Update: Scratch the point in Obama’s favor.  As reader Damian G points out, I misread the Quinnipiac report; respondents support repeal of ObamaCare 49/41.

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